(Knock on wood!)
I imagine that most Wisconsinites are the sort of winter-bound folk who can truly understand the elation one feels with the subtle turning of the seasons. A few days ago in Gießen I felt a distinct shift that was manifested in the amount of sunshine and, directly related to its increase, a very apparent change in everyone’s mood. The Gießeners all had a little extra bounce in their step (hey, they were even looking somewhere other than the pavement!), and the birds were absolutely loving the respite from the dementor-like weather of the past four months.
It’s a welcomed change, as it signals the fast-approaching and much-loved German season “chillen und grillen” and means that I’m that much closer to the next travel opportunities which include…
Karneval (Fasching), Köln
This weekend marks the start of pre-Lent festivities which are as big of a deal in Europe as Mardi Gras in NOLA or Halloween in the US overall. Drinking and carousing on the streets is rampant, costume-clad fools stumble about while loudly singing choruses of “Viva Colonia“, and Germans are, suffice it to say, much less distant and stoic than usual. Check back in a week for a debriefing of the (not-pants-free) experience this weekend in Cologne!
Fulbright Conference, Berlin
Coming up in mid-March, the five-day conference is fully paid for by the wonderful institution that is Fulbright. I’m looking forward to having the weekend beforehand and afterward to explore Berlin for the second time, likely do some more Couchsurfing, and eat some damn good Dönerkebab.
Ulm Salsa Festival, Ulm
It was little over a week ago that I was in Frankfurt with my friend Katie (from UW-Madison, studying in Sevilla), but she’ll be returning to Germany in April for her second trip to join me in the “south” for a weekend salsa fiesta! She’ll be flying into Stuttgart, so perhaps I’ll make a day trip over there to revisit the city (this time hopefully without a horrifying lymph node bacterial infection…that was not a fun time).
Adventure, Anywhere (TBA)
You remember me saying I had about 11 days for spring break? Alas, not so. The tech rehearsals do in fact fall in the middle of my school’s spring break, meaning that my holiday is reduced to two 3-day weekends. Sigh. But hey, I’m open to suggestions! Switzerland? Luxembourg? Lichtenstein? Checking out a bit of a new country sounds smashing!
For now I think I’ll do some spring cleaning, get that good energy flowing (Tai Chi is fun, who knew?) and start whistling on my way to work. Or maybe I’d better save that for the birds…